Today, we are talking about the #1 buzzword in the online space right now: AI. I’ve brought in Dawn Richardson, owner of Tech Savvy Creative, and long-time online friend (and Elizabeth McCravy shop customer!). We met IRL recently at the Creative Educator Conference a few months ago, and I reached out to her immediately after asking her to come on the podcast and talk about the top AI tools to free up your time in your business.
A little bit of background info for you: Dawn was a software engineer turned wedding photographer and is now back in the tech space. So she REALLY gets it. Her mission is to help creative entrepreneurs leverage the power of technology to regain more time freedom, which you all know is near and dear to my heart! She’s so helpful and really breaks down tech in a way that we can all understand (and get from tech-overwhelm to tech-empowered), and I couldn’t be more grateful to have her sharing her wisdom with us today.
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Today, we are talking about the #1 buzzword in the online space right now: AI. I’ve brought in Dawn Richardson, owner of Tech Savvy Creative, and long-time online friend (and Elizabeth McCravy shop customer!). We met IRL recently at the Creative Educator Conference a few months ago and I reached out to her immediately after asking her to come on the podcast and talk about the top AI tools to free up your time in your business.
One company in particular - ChatGPT - seemed to pop up overnight and over all of our minds to AI. While AI has obviously been around for a while in different capacities, ChatGPT really just launched in November 2022 and now it’s all over my news feed. So let’s start at the beginning.
What is ChatGPT?
The interesting thing about ChatGPT is that it was truly one of the first AI tools to have a public interface. On top of that, before it went public, it had already been trained pretty significantly. In the past, there have been some AI tools by Facebook or Microsoft that came out as early as 2018, but they weren’t quite as good yet. When ChatGPT came to the surface, it was already smart, which got people excited. They had over a million users in the first five days, making it the fastest growing application in history.
So what is it? ChatGPT is a generative AI tool. And that means that it is creating brand new content based on things that it's learned in the past. So kind of like what we're doing today. I didn't create ChatGPT, but I'm teaching you about it.
What is AI?
AI stands for artificial intelligence, and artificial intelligence is a model that is mimicking, problem solving, and decision making like a human would. Compare this to automations, which are typically processes and tasks that happen automatically based on a certain set of rules.
Basically, all AI is a type of automation, but not all automation are AI.
For example, look at something like Honeybook. Honeybook is a GREAT automation tool, but it is not an AI tool (yet!). Compare this with ChatGPT, which is now very much at the surface but is also fueling a lot of the technology behind other tools as well. It’s really opened the doors to us in the public!
Does that mean our everyday tools that are using ChatGPT for their AI?
Yes, essentially, OpenAI (ChatGPT) is allowing other tools to use their API. I couldn't tell you what the cost behind it is or how this works behind the scenes, but it’s definitely out there. There are also different versions of GPT too. So you might have heard the term GPT-4 recently, which is essentially just the latest version of their technology. The most exciting thing about GPT-4, is that is actually takes images as “input” too.
With GPT-4, I could open my refrigerator, take a picture of what’s inside, and ask what I can make for dinner based on what’s inside.
You showed me ChatGPT when we were at the Creative Educator Conference a few months ago, and I remember we asked ChatGPT to basically write a blog post about a chic green boho nursery to see how it compared to my post about Colin’s nursery. While it didn’t necessarily do a great job, it was still so neat to watch it work!
What should creative entrepreneurs use AI for?
I recommend creatives and business owners use these tools to tackle the mundane. I heard Natalie Franke say in a recent reel that we can use AI to go from “stuck to started”. These tools, if used well, are not intended to replace you. They're not intended to totally eliminate your employees or the talent on your team (even if people might try).
A few better ways to use AI could be:
- Asking it to generate Q&A from a blog post
- Repurpose your content into an Instagram caption
- Making your blog post longer for SEO
- Using it to fix your grammar
While AI tools can help you with tasks, those “tasks” are not really your true talent. Your zone of genius is not creating the basic text of your Instagram post. Your genius is the topic, and this is just helping you take it to the next level. So I would encourage any business user to go and play with AI tools, experiment with it, and see how it can help you with those tasks that are not the best use of your time so you can go out and do more of what really matters.
Read More: How I Booked A $10,000 Client On Autopilot
What should we NOT use AI for?
Please don’t ask it to “write you a blog post for X, Y, and Z” and then just copy and paste. I think we will see the legal system catch up (because right now, tech is evolving faster than the law!), and that’s where I see creative entrepreneurs potentially running into issues.
What's been your favorite use for ChatGPT?
Every Sunday I jump onto ChatGPT, and I say “make me a seven day meal plan that is kid friendly” and it will generate me a full meal plan (breakfast, lunch, and dinner!). Once I get the meal plan how I like it, I can ask it to generate a shopping list.
Even more exciting - OpenAI has announced ChatGPT plugins which allow other tools to integrate with this software as well. Instacart is one of them! So now, there's a strong possibility in the next few weeks that that shopping list could be automatically added to my Instacart and everything is done.
Recently I launched a new Showit website template, and I wrote all four emails promoting it from scratch and the went into ChatGPT and asked it to “make this email more grammatically correct” and “make this email funnier,” and things like that and it does do a pretty good job (even if when I asked it to write the emails from scratch it wasn’t as good lol). I’ve also used ChatGPT to help with filler copy for my templates. You can see it in the new Carrie template on the blog! ChatGPT helped me come up with 10 blog post headlines as a filler.
Should we be paying for something like Jasper or using the free tools that are available?
- Create pin titles and pin descriptions for Pinterest
- Write an intro for a blog post
- Write a marketing email
And more templates that are just more “ready to go” vs. ChatGPT where you have to outline what you want and ask it a question. With Jasper, you also get to pick a tone, and tell them the name of your business or product, and even often include keywords that you want included to rank on Google.
Whether that’s worth paying for as a tool is totally up to you! Even with ChatGPT, you are using GPT-4 in the paid version and GPT-3 in the free version. So there will be some features behind a paywall soon.
Which AI Tools would you say are worth checking out in the tools most of us are already using? I’m thinking about Canva Magic Write or Tailwind Ghost Writer and those kind of tools.
I'd say try them all. One of my favorites so far has been the AI in Notion. And since Canva’s latest conference, they have AI tools beyond just “Magic Write” in your graphics and now have “Canva Assistant” which is very cool as well. You can create multiple graphics by just inputting one image now. As an example, I took my headshot and then I gave it some words like "new on the blog: my five favorite AI tools," and then Canva will create five different graphics advertising that blog post.
When it comes to automations and AI and any kind of technology, it's not an all-or-nothing approach. You can try little things that add up over time.
What would you say to those who are hesitant to use AI to automate some aspects of their business, specifically if they are worried it will feel impersonal?
Remember it’s not all or nothing. Introducing a tool into your business doesn't mean that you stop talking to your clients altogether. It's just going to help you tackle a small piece of your business that maybe is part of your client experience, but is not directly related to talking to your client. For example, you might be able to create higher quality emails faster so you can actually spend more time in that one-on-one conversation with your client or enhancing your experience with something more personalized. These tools are just opening the door to letting you make a better experience and stand out even more.
The benchmark for quality content is getting higher, and it can be really intimidating.
More people are going to be creating high quality content and are working to better their client experience. You can also use AI to get time back as well. I personally work from home with a baby and any time I save I want to use to spend time with my family.
If you are worried about AI or automation diluting your personal experience, I would tell you: Don't use it for your personal experience. Use it for the things that you don't want to personalize. For example, you don't need a personalized email reminder to remind clients that they haven't paid yet. Think about what parts of your business don't actually need a human touchpoint. Trust me - you'll just catch the bug and want to automate more and more things as you go.
What are simple automations everyone should have?
Yes - when talking about simple or complex automations, I like to call this the automation spectrum. Simple automations are those that take care of a straightforward task, such as sending a thank-you email after someone subscribes to your email list. This is where most people should start! Contracts, invoices, and reminders can (and should) all be automated fairly easily. These simple automations also tend to take you from a hobby mentality to a business mentality!
What’s one automation everyone should use right now?
Automate your computer backups now. What I learned during my time behind the Genius bar at Apple, it was that all hard drives will fail, it’s only a matter of time. And even if it doesn’t fail, things break or get stolen.
What are some more advanced automations?
Now, let’s talk about more “pretty cool automations” (the middle of my automation spectrum!).
Instagram Bots Like ManyChat or Mobile Monkey
One really popular option is using an Instagram chat bot like ManyChat. That’s when you see things like “comment THIS WORD and get XYZ”, those are typically ran by bots. Which is GREAT because it means the people reaching out are having a great experience getting what they want quickly, and you don’t have to do any of the work.
Jenna Kutcher recently had an episode about this and she talked about how she had 30 different responses for one automation. So it really didn't look like the same thing every single time. If two people inquired, they would get different responses.
I’ve just started doing this myself and I personally use Mobile Monkey! I love it because I can ask people to comment things like “episode” to get the latest episode, and then it will even ask follow up questions like “do you want to listen on Apple and Spotify?”. We all know Instagram doesn’t love when people leave their app so I’ve found sharing the link via DMs vs. sharing the link on my stories is so much better.
Tango for SOP’s or Customer Service
I'm also a huge fan of Tango (and am a paid user!). You can connect it to your computer or to your browser (depending on if you're paid or not). Then, I can “start the Tango” and it will start creating a step by step guide for what I’m doing. So that way, if I am creating a new workflow in Dubsado for example, it will create a step by step guide with screenshots to showcase what I am doing. I use Tango to create guides or SOPs for me. Then, I love to toss it into Canva and put a pretty cover on it.
If right now you are using loom for your team or to share steps with clients, consider “starting the Tango” before your loom, so you will have a video option and a text option for those that might prefer it that way!
Zapier to Connect Your Favorite Tools
Another pretty cool automation that I love talking about is Zapier. Zapier is a tool that allows you to connect two (or more) tools together. For example, I love to connect my client management system with a company called Handwrytten, which is a company that creates thank you cards. They actually have a robot that holds a pen and it writes on a card. You can pick a handwriting that looks like yours and create templates. It’s amazing. For example, I can create this automation through Zapier that says when my client signs their contract and pays their deposit in Dubsado, I can ask Handwrytten to send them a handwritten thank you card with a $5 Starbucks gift card in it.
What are some of the most advanced top AI tools?
Use Noty.AI or Fathom for Team Meetings
Things like Noty.Ai or Fathom integrate with Google Meet or Zoom or whatever online conferencing tool that you're using and then they will not only create a transcript of what each person said, but it will also take that transcript, pull key moments out of the transcript, and even generate action items. Once it does that, it will create an email summary for you that automatically sends out to everybody on the call. This also works well for client calls!
Fathom will even let you capture video soundbites of the key moments of the call. Personally, I think it won’t be long until Microsoft CoPilot and Google BARD catch up! When you don’t need to do this manually (or have your assistant do it), what can you do with that extra time? That’s where the magic is. The magic isn’t in the tool, the magic is in the time you gain back.
Imagen.AI for Photo Editing
When most of us think about AI, we immediately jump to content creation. And while that’s great, one of the top AI tools I’ve used so far is a photo editing tool called Imagen AI. This is going to be mainly for photographers out there, but the first time I used it I literally sat there and said “Did I leave the photography industry too soon?”.
How it works is that it asked me for a few thousand of my edited photos. I gave it four weddings with about 1500 photos each. Imagen AI learned how I edited photos when I was in a dark church versus in a barn versus on a lawn somewhere. It learned my editing style and then created an AI profile for me. Now that I have my AI profile, I can simply upload all of the raws that I want to edit, and it could edit weddings for me in 10 minutes.
I have a photo editor on my team, but it was such a time saver. I still need her on my team (because I don't want to go through all 1500 of those photos to make sure that they look exactly how they're supposed to), but if she could get this initial edit done in 10 minutes, she could spend all of her other time either taking on more clients or she could spend all of her time really fine-tuning each gallery and making it even more cohesive.
Even on a personal note, I took photos of my children in a blue bonnet field, handed them to Imagen AI and they were fully edited in two minutes.
Motion for Productivity
You’ve likely seen a Facebook Ad for this one! Personally, I need it to have a little more integration for this one to be a game changer, but it’s also new. It will likely get there! What Motion does now is look at your Google Calendar, your tasks for the day (and how long they should take), and then based on your calendar and the priority of those tasks, it'll rearrange your schedule to tell you when you need to do those tasks.
The nice thing about it is, it’s smart. So if a meeting pops up or a task takes longer than you had estimated, it will move the rest of your schedule around based on time and priority.
As a mom and an entrepreneur, I'm really excited about the productivity tools that are going to come to the surface. Analysis paralysis is a thing. I know that I will stare at my screen and be like: what do I need to do first? And it can be really intimidating.
Additional thoughts when you try some of the top AI tools
I think it’s important to remember this is just the beginning. If something doesn't work for you now, that doesn't mean it won't in six months. Sometimes we get really attached to our tools and have a lot of brand loyalty. But ultimately, you might be losing money by staying with a tool that doesn’t serve you anymore. Even if you have a lifetime account!
How do you know when to switch top AI tools? How can we avoid busy work switching and learning new platforms all the time?
Let me do that work for you - that's what I do. I am the squirrel. I chase the shiny penny.
Basically when it comes to evaluating new tools and finding new things, you really have to figure out what is most important to you. For example, I have been a ClickUp user forever. Recently, in my workflow, I needed a strong iPad app than ClickUp provided. So for a season, I stepped away from ClickUp and used another solution. Now that their iPad app is better, I can come back to ClickUp and see what that looks like.
In order to make that decision though, I had to ask myself: is having a better iPad app really going to save me time or money? At the time, my answer was yes so I switched to Notion for that project.
What does your day-to-day schedule look like working from home with children?
I truly have to remind myself that this season will not be here forever, and when it's gone, I'm going to miss it. So I'm trying not to sulk in it. I am an Enneagram 3, so productivity is my thing. I want to get all the things done. I want to launch all the things. I'm in a season where that just doesn't work for my schedule.
I have two little ones (one is four, and one just turned one!). We JUST got the 4-year old into a full-time program every day until 4:30 so that helps tremendously. Now for the baby, she’s a Velcro baby. She likes to be attached and held at all times. So we just have to roll with the punches on the day-to-day with her. She’s on the waitlist for a program too, but she won’t be in until January.
My husband is a software engineer (there is a lot of tech going on in our household), so he takes the baby until about 10:30am every morning. That gives me a solid 1-2 hours to get the most important tasks done. Usually, she will take a nap after that so I might have a little extra time to get things done too.
Right now, I’m working about 10 hours a week right now so one of my top priorities for work is just staying relevant, to be honest. It’s my goal to create an online persona where it doesn’t look like I am only working ten hours a week. But I can’t work on big projects or take bigger full-time clients right now.
I also offer “all day Voxer coaching” and that's a great way for me to help people because: first, that whole process to book is totally automated online and just shows up on my calendar and second, I’m able to chat while holding my baby if I need to or be in the pickup line at school.
Rapid Questions with Dawn Richardson of Tech Savvy Creative
You have the Gabby template and the Reese template from my shop for your website (your website is almost like a hybrid since you updated as you went instead of launching a new site). What would you say to someone considering an Elizabeth McCravy template?
Do it. Here's some context: I white-label design for Showit designers which means I take their design mockups and create them on Showit. So I know Showit really well, and I still buy templates. Elizabeth McCravy shop templates are detailed, and beautiful, and they are easy to use. Even if you know Showit too or feel like you are pretty tech-savvy, get yourself a template and spend the time you saved doing something else instead.
What’s your favorite tech tool on your website?
I love the look of Showit forms and don’t love the look of CRM forms. So I use Zapier when potential clients reach out on my website contact form through Showit, it inputs it into my CRM. So I get all the automation and processes without needing to use those forms.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments that you've ever made?
Hands down - education. The content within the education space is great, but in-person events, conferences, workshops, masterminds, etc. The relationships that you make with people are so much more valuable than the content itself. You learn so much from the people around you, whether you're a speaker or an attendee. I’m definitely a conference junkie.
What is a purchase of $100 or less that's positively impacted your life in the last six months or recent memory?
First, a chicken shredder. This is such a mom life answer. My daughter's one, so she can't just eat whole chicken legs, right? So I shred a LOT of chicken. I know that's so silly, but it saves me so much time, and it was like a $20 Amazon product, so I highly recommend a chicken shredder.
Second, and this one is less recent, but when I started my business, I was gifted The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. That changed our lives. Between my husband and I, we had around $150,000 of debt. Before I could go full-time, we fully paid off all of our debt. Now that has led to me being able to not work as much in this season. We don’t have credit card payments or card payments. It’s set both of my businesses up with a really strong foundation.
Want More From Dawn Richardson from Tech Savvy Creative?
Do you need a new Showit Website template?
Like Dawn said, if you are thinking about an Elizabeth McCravy shop template, just do it! If you want a website that's easy to customize, strategic, smart, and ready to grow with your business, I’ve got you covered. I'm constantly adding new templates to the mix, and carry everything from full site templates with all the pages you need to simpler add-ons that you can add to any Showit website. Use the Code BBPODCAST for 10% off your template.
Grab Dawn's Free AI Toolkit
Get a Free Trial of Jasper AI
Try Open AI ChatGPT
Ready to start backing up your computer? Click here
Save Time Buying Groceries on Instacart
Try Out Notion
Watch the Episode on Youtube
Creating SOPs or To Do Lists? Check Out Tango
Need to Connect Your Tools? Use Zapier
Check Out Handwrytten to Send Cards
Photographers Check Out Imagen Photo Editing AI
Want help organizing your to-do list and digital calendar? Try Motion
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Check Out Dawn’s Website
April 18, 2023